Top scoring keeper in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) standings with 103 points, Simon Mignolet is afforded further opportunity to boost his tally over the next few matches. A run of games which sees Sunderland square up to West Brom, Fulham, QPR and Norwich all hold plenty appeal before the schedule turns nasty for Martin O’Neill’s side in Gameweek 31:
The Belgian heads to the Hawthorns on Saturday on the back of a run of games which has harvested 43 points in his previous nine matches; just under five points per game. While this has included four clean sheets – against Southampton, City, West Ham and Swansea – Mignolet’s save points have also been crucial to his Fantasy prospects. So far, he has made 105 saves, eight more than any other keeper, and has picked up three points against Spurs and Liverpool and four points against Arsenal over the previous nine, despite conceding in each of those fixtures. As a result, he sits six points ahead of Joe Hart in the standings, despite registering two clean sheets less (nine to 11) than the City stopper.
Mignolet’s propensity to pick up save points is crucial to his appeal over alternative Sunderland assets. With regular full-backs Craig Gardner and Danny Rose both classified as midfielders in FPL, the choice is pretty limited – John O’Shea has chipped in with a goal and pair of assists this season but remains almost 30 points behind his keeper. Carlos Cuellar, at 4.4, is a cut-price option but continues to be plagued with a hamstring injury – he was an unused sub against Arsenal last time out, with O’Neill clearly keen to ease him back to action. This leaves Titus Bramble as an alternative but with new boy Kader Mangane building up match fitness, too many question marks currently hang over the centre-half positions, boosting Mignolet’s appeal further.
Coming in at 5.4 in FPL and just 4.4 in the Sky Sports game, Mignolet’s heroics suggest he could be utilised as a one-stop keeper option from here on in, though he could also offer a superb rotation partner with Newcastle’s Tim Krul. Such a scenario would present us with a superb run of home games (SOT, FUL, STO, NOR, MUN, FUL, SUN) over the next seven Gameweeks for those with budget to spare.